5 Common WordPress Duplicate Content Problems And How To Fix Them


WordPress makes life easier for small businesses, bloggers, and large news sites. You’ve automatically applied best practices in a lot of cases, like canonical links, and there are plugins for pretty much anything you need.

Along with the ease of posting content and designs, you also have a new problem:

Duplicate content.

Duplicate content is a common reason why a WordPress website won’t rank.

While this is different from what we traditionally know in SEO as duplicate content (an exact replication of content from label to code), it is similar and should be treated.

Here are the five most common types of duplicate content issues in WordPress and how to fix them.

1. Tags

Tags are a huge problem for many WordPress websites. When you tag an article, it creates a unique page full of other content that you feel is relevant.

The page will present excerpts from articles or full articles. If the tag is the same as a category or main page on your main website (assuming it’s not a blog), you’ve now created a competitor for that page on your own site.


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Tags are also usually modified versions of themselves, which creates incredibly similar content that will compete with itself.

When this happens none of the pages will rank and it can potentially downgrade the site.

Good news! It is an easy repair.

You can either get rid of the tags altogether or add a noindex dofollow meta robots.

The noindex dofollow tag will tell search engines that this is a thin page, but follow the links and keep crawling and indexing my site.

Now the search engines will know that the page is not as useful as the others, and you have shown them how to discover your good content – the individual posts and pages.

2. Categories

Category pages tend to feature many posts and posts as a tag.

They will have H1 tags which are the same as the articles, they won’t always answer a question or provide a good solution as they are article snippets and they may not be good for people to display. search for answers.


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This is why they are generally considered to be thin content.

There is, however, one exception.

Search Engine Journal, for example, is a WordPress website where categories are dedicated to channels and niches within a channel.

A user looking for information about a channel, in general, may find a category very useful. For this reason, you want to approach it differently from a tag.

In this case, you add a meta-bot index and dofollow tags, but you also create unique titles and copy for the category to introduce – and, if the schema is relevant, add that as well.

You have now helped define the types of cases and who to show the page to.

You could be rewarded by the search engines for it. Just make sure that they are not competitive with your main website pages if you are a business.

3. Competing topics

The next thing I see when auditing WordPress sites is a lack of unique content.

Think of food bloggers. Yes, the recipe diagram and other things will help differentiate the recipes, but what if you don’t use it or didn’t know it at first?

If you have 20 chocolate chip cookie recipes, chances are a lot of them use similar words and ingredients, which could create some competition.

Each recipe is unique and may serve a different purpose, but if you don’t do the extra work, they might not be able to appear as they compete with each other.

In this case, you may want to create a category or subcategory for cookies. If you can’t, review them and add modifiers (eg, spicy, salty, chewy, for parties, for large groups).

Then start adding a copy (not necessarily upwards, as you want to quickly deliver the actual recipe to the user) on the finished product. Make sure the copy remains relevant to the topic and shows why, how and where it is unique from others.


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Need more examples?

Have you written a themed gift guide or a holiday post? Has anything changed outside of the year? DIY ideas for Mother’s Day? Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts for XYZ?

These are not unique enough. If you have more than one post, they could all compete.

If you add a year to your title (for example, 2016, 2017), you might miss some people in search engines because they are not relevant that year. This is where the above strategies can help.

4.search field url

I haven’t come across this one that often, but search boxes on WordPress sites can generate URLs.

If someone creates an external link to any of these URLs, or if search engines can crawl and find them, they can be indexed.

While you can try to add a noindex meta-bot dofollow automatically like in tags, that probably hasn’t got you covered.

To solve this one, you need to find the unique identifier that the search box URLs have in common. It’s usually a “?” after the main URL.


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Now go to your robots.txt file and add a ban to this setting. In theory, and if done correctly, it will help reduce the thin or duplicate content issues of these.

5. Other

With systems that automate a lot of work and make life easier, other issues can arise that create duplicate or lightweight content issues.

Take a look at your site and see if you can get more.

They can include creating PDF versions of the content for printing that are also searchable, or other versions in quotes that can be bad for short articles.

You can have an RSS feed that posts pages of content instead of snippets and only feeds titles or descriptions (I think I only found this once, so it’s not a huge problem to fear).


Overall, most of these WordPress issues are easy to spot and fix using the strategies above. By eliminating your duplicate content, you should get the organic search rankings you want.


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Image credits: Paulo bobita

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